Great Sale Cay

Early departure. We successfully extracted ourselves from the tight spaces in Old Bahama Bay marina at West End and headed back to sea, bound for Great Sale Cay.. A couple of waypoints north and we were ready to turn east onto the Little Bahama Banks. Water depth changes from 1200 feet to 20. Color changes as well from a deep blue to a beautiful crystal clear turquoise. Weather was perfect. 80 degrees and nearly zero wind. No seas to speak of; a milk pond. We spend the day marveling at the colors and clear and calm waters. The bottom is visible making it somewhat nerve wracking at first. It looks much shallower than it is. We’ve had this experience many times but it is still unnerving. By lunch the sea surface is glassy. Flying fish skip along like rocks one might throw from the bank. Mangrove Cay is a waypoint and I chose not to vary from the Explorer charts recommended route….mistake. Should have moved that waypoint further away from the Cay. A shallow spot caused us to disengage the autopilot and steer north to avoid running aground. Five feet under the keel gave way to 4, then 3….OK north we go. After finding deeper water we again activate navigation and get back on course for Great Sale Cay. This will likely be the norm for the duration of our stay in the Bahamas….it is shallow everywhere.

 
 
We arrive at our destination by 4:30 PM and anchor in 10 feet of clear water. There are at least a dozen other boats already here but there is plenty of room for all. We settle in for the evening; enjoy an hour on the boat deck looking west to the vast expanse of open water. We start the genset to recharge batteries and the A/C’s to cool the boat down. A lovely dinner is followed by more time topsides enjoying the evening. Clouds are going to obscure our sunset but a full moon is rising in the east.

Such a beautiful place.

 
 
It’s been several months since we last anchored. One gets out of practice. Even though we’ve anchored hundreds of times, usually the first night on anchor isn’t restful for me….too vivid an imagination. I can imagine every conceivable catastrophe in vivid living color detail. Naturally sleep is out of the question. While I have a great deal of confidence in our Rocna anchor, I don’t have 100% rock solid confidence – especially when the wind is up. The marginal difference is cause for sleeplessness.

We setup a GPS as an anchor watch device; one could do the same with radar although that uses more power. In our case we have a WiFi unit connected to our N2K buss allowing us to view any display we wish on an iPad. Thinking that would help me get some rest I placed the iPad in our master stateroom where I could, at a glance, note the current position of the boat and whether it had moved or not. Didn’t help a bit. I’m up to the pilothouse looking at our neighbors (all soundly asleep I’m sure) to determine our relative positions. Am I dragging anchor? Has the wind shifted? Am I getting too close to anything? Convinced all is OK I head back to bed; it lasts for maybe 10 minutes. The wind has now shifted 90 degrees; the GPS clearly shows that, but I have to get up anyway and check it out. We are OK once again. Finally, around 2 AM the wind abates, things calm down, the boat isn’t wandering off and I hit the sack.

Next time I’ll mark the locations of neighboring boats and setup a guard zone around Tivoli on the broadband radar.

After a few days one gets used to the motions and sounds.

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